Public servant Vivian N Sudduth-Berryhill ended a seven-year battle with cancer at the age of 63. Prior to her passing she bravely battled cervical cancer for seven years, before going into remission for a year after three years of treatment.
Mrs. Berryhill is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and later moved to Memphis, Tennessee to pursue an education and her passion for music, where she utilized her vocal talent and music composing skills to enhance her advocacy for a host of social and health awareness causes. Her work took her around the world, where she met presidents and other dignitaries in a quest to improve human conditions. Mrs. Berryhill served on various boards and worked with many nonprofit organizations throughout the south.
In 2006 Mrs. Berryhill received the prestigious Presidential Service Award. In 2007 the Jefferson Public Service Award, and in May of that same year, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, read her outstanding service into the Congressional Record, calling her “a goodwill ambassador across the world conducting global outreach on HIVAIDS.
In 2012, Mrs. Berryhill was among 11 volunteers from across DeSoto County to receive national recognition: the 2012 President’s Volunteer Service Awards.
In March of 2017, in the week of her passing, she received the highlight of her career, The Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barak Obama.
Amongst her other achievements, Mrs. Berryhill was an avid supporter of efforts to reduce preventable diseases that disproportionately affected African Americans, such as HIV/AIDS, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
In 2003, Mrs. Berryhill joined a distinguished group of U.S. delegates on a HIV/AIDS fact-finding tour to five countries in sub-Saharan Africa. She also represented the United States as a delegate at the 57th International World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland in May of 2004, and toured faith-based locales in Peru, Bolivia and Chile in June of 2004, which allowed expansion of the network of pastors’ wives, and the touting of her organization’s innovative approach to HIV/AIDS education and prevention to indigenous clergy spouses in the region.
She was founder and head of the 2,800-member National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses, which helped her spread her advocacy across the nation.
Mrs. Berryhill was a remarkable woman, whose zest for life and desire to make the world a better place, despite her battle with cancer, deserves honoring, by founding this foundation in remembrance her, the VSB Cancer Awareness Foundation (Vivian Sudduth-Berryhill Cancer Awareness Foundation) her work will continue on.
Commercial Appeal, Memphis TN